Share this entry
courtly Syllabification: court·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈkôrtlē/

Definition of courtly in English:

adjective (courtlier, courtliest)

1Polished or refined, as befitting a royal court: he gave a courtly bow
More example sentences
  • Thus the most elaborate arrangements pertained to the royal or courtly bath culture.
  • Literate North India, for its part, laments the transformation of a Delhi that was once a byword for elegant poetry, Mughal manners and courtly civilisation.
  • Taking a moment, he opened the doors for them, helping them out and giving each a courtly bow and a gentle kiss on the cheek.
2Given to flattery; obsequious.


Pronunciation: /ˈkôrtlēnəs/
Example sentences
  • The occasional courtliness of his manner has produced many forgettable poems, but he has no nostalgia for or tolerance of the disastrous grand narratives of the masters of Modernism.
  • The Italian greets me with great courtliness: first relieving me of my burdens, then bowing gracefully, his lips remaining just a hair's breadth above my extended hand.
  • I bet it also gave him an air of courtliness that helped him get people to talk - the kind he wanted to hear.

Words that rhyme with courtly

Definition of courtly in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources